From Ben Dunno, Warri
Cases of kidnapping and ritual killings have taken a worrisome dimension in major towns and cities in Delta State, causing panic and a state of insecurity among residents who are now apprehensive about walking their streets and busy roads, as well as inside commercial buses or tricycles, otherwise known as ‘Keke’ plying the areas.
Investigations carried out by Daily Sun revealed that the kidnapping syndicate which had its tentacles spread across areas like Warri, Effurun, Udu, Sapele and Ughelli have developed a new strategy with which they try to beat the tracking technology of the police in linking them through a ‘soft target’ after making contact with their victim’s relations for ransom.
A victim recently released from one of the kidnappers’ hideouts within the Effurun axis disclosed that the syndicate now use the sim cards of other victims that were about to be released to get in touch with another victim’s relations for ransom and thereafter release both the victim and the sim together, so the police tracking can only capture the released victim.
In other cases, the syndicate uses another victim number still in captivity to contact other victims’ families and when the police track traced the ‘soft target’, they would realise that it’s a number of another victim whose relations had earlier been contacted by the same gang to pay a ransom.
It was gathered that the syndicate do not only make a call, they also use the same victim”s registered number to snap pictures of others in their custody and send to their relations through WhatsApp for proper identification and quick response to ransom payments.
It was learnt that the ladies in captivity were worse off in the pictures the kidnappers send to their relations as they were usually made to pose half-naked with a threat to start raping or cutting off one of the breasts if the ransom was not paid early enough.
This was the experience at the Ovwian-Aladja police station yesterday, like the policemen who were tracking a kidnap kingpin through the number of the ‘soft target’ with which they had contacted the relations for payment later realised that the targets were also relatives of another victim in the kidnappers’ hideout.
Some victim relations who were brought in as ‘soft targets’ to the Ovwian Aladja police station who had the opportunity to talk with their cousin that was kidnapped two (2) days ago, said they were informed by the victim that they were about Eighteen (18) of them, specifically Thirteen (13) boys and six (6) ladies in the hideout they were being held.
One of them disclosed that the amount of money they requested as ransom from their victims’ relations ranges from between N1m to N5m, depending on the personality involved.
Concerned by this ugly trend, the new Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ovwian Aladja, CSP Aliyu Shaba, directed that they take the statement from the relation of the latest victim even as he immediately deployed his men to adopt another strategy in their fight against violent crimes in the area.
The DPO immediately despatched his men into four (4) teams and despatched them to notable flashpoint areas within Udu to commence further investigations into the kidnap incidents in order to unravel those behind the criminal act in the town.